Exclusive: Common Core Developers Attack National Homeschooling Group over Documentary

Exclusive: Common Core Developers Attack National Homeschooling Group over Documentary

A leaked email from the deputy executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), one of the nonprofits that developed and owns the copyrights to the Common Core standards, indicates the group is mobilizing Common Core supporters in the face of the release of a documentary film from the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) on Monday.

Missouri Education Watchdog provided the text of the email from Carissa Moffat Miller of CCSSO, the subject of which is “Anti Common Core Movie, embargoed materials.”

Many of you are likely aware of an anti-common core movie slated to be released in a few days. The Home School Legal Defense Association, a Virginia-based organization opposed to the Common Core, has produced a film called “Building the Machine.” The film’s anticipated online release date (which has changed several times), is currently set for March 31, 2014. The film implies that the Common Core was created through politics, misinformation and corruption. Using stark graphics and ominous music, the film features interviews with Common Core opponents arguing against the standards’ development and implementation–interspersed with misleading snippets of interviews from Common Core supporters…

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Fordham have put together the attached two documents that can be used to clarify the vast amount of misinformation that will be circulated as a result of the movie. Please note – these are EMBARGOED until Monday, March 31st. Please do not distribute.

Miller continues with news of the U.S. Chamber’s own Common Core documentary film which, she states, “is in the final stages” of production:

In addition to these two documents, the U.S. Chamber is in the final stages of producing their own Common Core mini-documentary. This will provide the pro-Common Core side and will also be ready early next week. In collaboration with organizations from all over the country, the video will feature education reformers, teachers, chamber leaders, and business representatives, showing the unified support for Common Core across generations, political lines, and states.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any specific questions or needs. Below we’ve include some tips for messaging and responding to the critical questions this film may generate in your state. We will send out the Chamber video when it is released.



Miller’s “tips” include “Stay positive: Reiterate your positive messaging on the standards…,” and “Avoid going on the defensive…”

In an interview with Breitbart News, Ian Reid, the director of the HSLDA film documentary Building the Machine, said about the leaked email: “I’m surprised by the combative tone of these organizations that support the Common Core. Our own message has been to present both sides of the issue.”

“The presentation from the pro-Common Core groups is that we’ve produced a hit piece on Common Core, when what we’ve done is presented those who are for the standards and those who are against it,” Reid said.

Reid pointed to the fact that Michael Petrilli, the executive director of the pro-Common Core Thomas B. Fordham Institute, appears in the documentary explaining the benefits of the standards.

“The most telling argument that we’ve achieved what we set out to do is that Mike Petrilli told us we presented his arguments fairly,” Reid said. “Even one of the most ardent advocates of the Common Core did not point out a single factual inaccuracy, when asked to fact check our film.”

Reid said HSLDA also asked David Coleman, considered to be the “architect” of the Common Core standards and currently the College Board president; Jason Zimba and Susan Pimentel, writers of the standards themselves; the president of the National Education Association (NEA); and other Common Core advocates to be in the documentary.

“We asked 18 pro-Common Core experts to be in the film, but only two of them said they would be willing,” Reid told Breitbart News.

Reid said, however, that this “tactic” was not uncommon. The pro-Common Core people claim the deck is stacked against them, when the truth is that they don’t respond to invitations to panels or other forums about the standards.

“These people are combative and war-mongering in talking about this film,” said Reid. “That what we have said is all lies and misinformation. In fact, this film is probably the most bipartisan, nonpolitical film.”

Reid observed, as Fox News has as well, that the Common Core standards have emerged as a major election issue this year, and one that is truly coming from American grassroots groups that are battling establishment politicians from both sides of the political aisle.

“We have people from both the left and the right attacking Common Core,” said Reid. “This is not a Democrat-Republican issue. We have many Republicans supporting Common Core.”

Missouri Education Watchdog writes:

It seems the US Chamber of Commerce has decided they have to do something more than provide the same old weak talking points that mean nothing to parents whose children have suddenly been diagnosed with learning disorders (formerly known as normal developmental progress), laziness or undue influence of angry white suburban moms. They have put together a movie to tell all of us how wrong we are and how clear their crystal ball is.

“It’s disappointing, but unfortunately, not surprising, that many of the organizations which are pushing the Common Core are now trying so hard to drown out HSLDA’s message in our documentary, Building the Machine,” William Estrada, Director of Federal Relations of HSLDA, told Breitbart News. “As the documentary will make clear when it is released on Monday, this issue is far more than what standards public schools should use. It is about who will decide how and what our children are taught.”

“Should it be centralized education planners and the federal government? Or should it be parents, teachers, and democratically-elected local school boards and the states?” asked Estrada. “HSLDA, and a growing chorus of concerned parents, educators, and leaders, believe it should be the latter.”


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